Brussels, it’s capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union, with many interesting cultural landmarks to visit. Throughout history Brussels has been home to monarchy, filled with the hustle and bustle of trade and the meeting place of craft and creativity. Though it’s known for its high-quality artisan chocolate trade, waffles and ice cream, it’s also sees much political activity with the European parliament and NATO operating from Brussels.
This grand building is situated in the heart of Brussels and offers free entry to partake in an immersive experience. Once past security, each adult is given an interactive device with headphones whilst children are given a backpack containing activities. This includes questions tailored to different parts of the exhibition and ‘stamps’ they can collect. The device is pre-configured to connect with each part of the visit and talk you through the different historical contexts of each time period. Interestingly as you ascend the building, each floor becomes more modern than the previous, almost as though you’re travelling through time. Notable aspects include seeing an exact replica of the gun used to assassinate Franz Ferdianad and consequently trigger World War One.
This statue is very well-known in Belgium and garners much interest with tour guides animatedly explaining the origins of the monument that depicts a young boy urinating. Whilst it all sounds very obscure, there’s actually a very reasonable explanation behind the boy’s memory being immortalised in this way. During the war foreign powers had surrounded the city of Brussels, in a perfect position to seize power. To execute the final task in the grand plan, they had set a rope on fire that would carry a spark to a substantial amount of explosives, enough the destroy the city. The young boy, Julian was desperate to relieve himself and after receiving no response from the doors he knocked on, had no choice but to wee in the street. His actions inadvertently created enough moisture to put out the flame and prevent the explosion, thus saving the city. Whilst the statue may be somewhat underwhelming, its surroundings certainly aren’t.
Surrounding manneken pis is the grand place which is a square that has beautiful, looming palaces and grand residences on all four sides. The historic buildings with their iconic architecture and gold accents, make the area nothing short of strikingly impressive. There is also the option to hire a horse and carriage for 35 minutes which allows for a tour of the maze of streets, all filled with a hive of activity, alongside a commentary from the driver.
The labyrinth of streets in the beating heart of Brussels, hold all kinds of wonders. A world famous staple of the city is its chocolate. From the varying tantalising, specially created tastes to the velvety, soft textures. A personal favourite were the Belgian truffles which melted in the mouth. Ice cream shops were easy to find as well, with a selection of fruity, sweet, sour, and exotic flavour to try from. Or if you fancied something savoury instead, the long queues spilling into the streets meant the reputable chip shops were easy to spot too.
This sweeping glass building, which seems to cover a never ending distance, is open to the public free of charge. Again, each visitor is given a multimedia guide which supports them through the exhibition which explores the EU parliament and other EU institutions.
In Brussels whether it’s food, drink, or touristic sites you want to visit, there’s something to try for everyone.
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